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Should You Forgive Verbal Abuse?

February 9, 2023 Cheryl Wozny

Is forgiving verbal abuse even possible? Learning to heal from verbal abuse is a unique journey that won't be identical to someone else's path. Each person will go through a series of stages as they work through their past and move forward. Your idea of healing may also differ greatly from what someone else believes is necessary. So, can you forgive verbal abuse, and do you have to so you can move past it? 

Do You Need to Forgive Someone for Verbal Abuse?

Verbal abuse can happen to anyone and come from strangers, acquaintances, or close friends and family members. While some people may associate forgiveness with moving on, it can be difficult to reach that point for other individuals. 

It's important to know that forgiveness is not the benchmark for healing from verbal abuse. Moving forward to a healthy, happy life with stable relationships is possible, even if you don't forgive your abuser. 

You may have people in your life who are genuinely sorry and have a plan to change their behavior. Yet, sometimes you may face an abuser who doesn't recognize their harmful actions. I used to think that I would never have peace in my life unless my abuser realized their harm and apologized so I could forgive them.  

Forgiving Verbal Abuse Isn't Forgetting

Forgiveness doesn't mean that you agree with verbal abuse. Forgiving someone who verbally abused you is a personal choice and not something anyone can make you do unless you want to. But, for some people, extending forgiveness to someone who verbally abused them is a critical step. There is no right or wrong answer regarding forgiving abusive behavior.

There was a time when I thought I could never forget the verbal abuse I endured. Therefore, I could never forgive my abuser or heal from my past. Thankfully, that wasn't accurate in my situation. 

Is It Possible to Forgive Verbal Abuse from an Abuser? 

Of course, the chance for someone to forgive their abuser of any verbal abuse is not easy or a simple task. I've talked to my therapist about forgiveness and my inability to heal from verbal abuse. I am fortunate to have family, friends, and professional therapists supporting my healing journey. 

I've learned that I may never be able to forgive my abusers for the verbal abuse they put me through. If the opportunity arises, it could be possible. However, I am not planning my healing journey contingent on my extending forgiveness. I know I can lead a happy life with healthy relationships that don't include verbal abuse. 

APA Reference
Wozny, C. (2023, February 9). Should You Forgive Verbal Abuse? , HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, February 25 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/verbalabuseinrelationships/2023/2/should-you-forgive-verbal-abuse



Author: Cheryl Wozny

Cheryl Wozny is a freelance writer and published author of several books, including mental health resources for children titled, Why Is My Mommy So Sad? and Why is My Daddy So Sick? Writing has become her way of healing and helping others. Find Cheryl on TwitterInstagramFacebook, and her blog

Mathew
April, 15 2023 at 9:16 am

Hi Cheryl. I appreciate your in-depth first hand experience in living in a verbally abusive relationship. Please help me with a question that I ruminate over and over again about verbal abuse. I am a single, over the age of 70, male. My long time “on and off “ relationship with a woman about my age has existed about 21 years. We do not live together but spend a lot of time together. My question is this: she has used the words “f***g idiot”, once to me, but used the f***g on me at least 3 other occasions. Recently, she called me a “cheap a**”, and a day earlier said I was a “d*** cheater”, for playing a word game with her. I did not cheat but somehow she felt she had been slighted or I did something wrong. Her verbal abusive words DO NOT HAPPEN ON A REGULAR BASIS. I have had a serious talk with her about it, tried to set boundaries with consequences, but feel I have been “weak” to hold to the consequences. Knowing her as I do, she has always been an “impatient person”, but only in the past 3 years, used caustic words on me, to me, about me. I love her, and want to be understanding, patient, and care for her with the years I have left. She has asked for grace and forgiveness on occasion, and I have forgiven her and, we Re-started our relationship over again. Please help me with an honest answer about this. ( She did have via TeleMedicine, several sessions with a counselor but decided to not pursue it any longer ).

April, 21 2023 at 3:29 pm

Hello Matthew, I am Cheryl Wozny, author of the Verbal Abuse in Relationships blog here at HealthyPlace. Thank you for reaching out and sharing your experience with your existing relationship. Unfortunately, I am not a medical professional, so it's best to pursue solutions that suit your situation. From what you describe, it seems that the behavior could have started later and has not been a continuous problem. Although she has tried sessions with a counselor, sometimes it can be necessary to seek out alternative counselors if you don't match up with someone who can help and support her. I encourage you to visit our Resources page here: https://www.healthyplace.com/other-info/resources/mental-health-hotline-numbers-and-refer… to seek out other sources for a resolution.

February, 28 2023 at 4:24 pm

Hello CH,
I am Cheryl Wozny, author of the Verbal Abuse in Relationships blog at HealthyPlace. Thank you for sharing your account with verbal abuse and children. It can be hard to navigate when you first witness it happening. It takes a lot of courage to try and change a negative situation.
Youngsters often don't know how to act and look to adults for guidance, so I am glad you are working as a TA with these children.
I encourage you to visit our Resources page here: https://www.healthyplace.com/other-info/resources/mental-health-hotline-numbers-and-refer… for some ways to find assistance in your region. Even talking to someone can help you process your feelings and strategize a plan to approach the teacher. However, if that doesn't bring positive change, you may have to seek help from someone else at the school when approaching the subject.
I wish you and your entire classroom family health and wellness.

CH
February, 25 2023 at 10:32 am

How do you recommend responding to a witness of verbal abuse in the classroom? I am a Kindergarten TA, the lead teacher's method to enforce non compliant instruction is to single out disobedient students and yell at them in front of the entire class. This has left many students in a puddle of tears. In my opinion, it must stop! I plan to speak with the teacher to inquire if there is anything I can do to assist. Do you have any recommendations on how to approach this subject?

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